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Generation ME vs. YOU

January 17, 2008

narcisists.gif I stumbled upon the article below in New York Times today that says, “Conventional wisdom, supported by academic studies using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, maintains that today’s young people– schooled in the church of self-esteem, vying for spots on reality television, promoting themselves on YouTube– are more narcisstic than their predecessors. A study released last year by the PEW Research Center for the People and Press dubbed Americans age 18-25 as the “Look at Me” generation and reported that this group said that their top goals were fortune and fame.

This article is engaging and interesting. It has caused me to search deep within myself. I am 25 yrs. old so I guess I’ve been labeled the “Look at Me” generation. I could say easily, yes, that we are self-absorbed as young people with all our gadgets and new tech., but young people have similar struggles as their parents and our entire culture. The tension within is not merely cultural, but our own sinfulness. We are the most “marketed to” generation ever and we are told if it feels good, then buy it and do it.

Narcissism: The fascination with one-self. Self-love. Do you think it’s something my generation deals with alone? Youtube, facebook, myspace, the wii, x-box, american idol, ipod’s, and iphone’s are not bad in and of themselves, but I can see how others label my generation’s fascination with these material things as just that. The above most certainly can be the vehicle to lead a person down a narcisstic, self-absorbed path when not used with discernment or humility. We could add moderation in there as well. But yet again, narcissism is often just within our sinful nature and we must constantly fight against it- no matter how young or how old (“For above all, guard you heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” -Prov. 4:23)

What are your thoughts?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/17/fashion/17narcissism.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    January 18, 2008 12:38 am

    Hey Samantha! I really enjoyed reading this. I am glad I could talk to you and give you some things to say on Sunday afternoon at lunch. I agree with you on this and I think that my age (teens) struggle with this much more than adults. I applaud you for sticking up for what you believe and I am really inspired by you. Love, your adopted daughter jkjk a.k.a Amanda

  2. January 18, 2008 9:11 pm

    Samantha,

    I believe we tend to think too much in extremes when there’s a balance to life. In many ways the “church of self-esteem” has made great strides in helping individuals realize their potential vs. thinking of themselves only as “wretched sinners” with no redeeming qualities. In balance, this is a good thing. Many Christians focus too much on extreme sense of our “sinful nature” and not on the goodness that’s in us. The reality is non-Christians do have the ability to be kind, compassionate, & moral individuals.

    On the other hand, being self-absorbed with no thought of how we can be a positive influence on the people around us and our environment is the other extreme.

    The balance would be a confident person who believes in their abilities who uses those abilities to be kind & compassionate to others and respectful or our environment.

    In other words, we’re overcompensating for all the negativity the previous generations were receiving but hang tight, it’ll come back to balance.

    Paul

  3. January 21, 2008 6:56 pm

    Samantha,

    This article was very interesting. Before I read this article, I noticed in my sister a self-absorption by all the pictures she had on her myspace page. I also saw most of her friends have pictures of themselves (and I’m not talking like 1 or 2, I’m talking 20-30 pictures of just themselves). It really disturbed me just because it really seems sometimes that this generation is self-absorbed. Now, I do think that having confidence is important, but not going to the extreme and being narcissistic.

    I agree with you when you say that “narcissism is often just within our sinful nature and we must constantly fight against it- no matter how young or how old.” I too think it’s a constant battle that we must fight against. I don’t think it’s right. Christ has called us to a life of “God-centeredness”–not “self-centeredness”.

    Great thoughts!
    Ashley

  4. January 22, 2008 3:00 pm

    Hi Samantha,

    Thank you for bringing up an important issue. I agree that we’re all narcisstic–I believe that’s what got us in trouble from the beginning in the garden! But today’s culture does seem to cause us to focus more on ourselves. There is so much noise that we often feel we can’t get our message out and be heard above the noise. Sometimes we forget the power of our God to overcome it all. Praise Him that He’s not restricted by the latest cultural trend!
    Keep up the good work!

    Blessings,
    Vonda Skelton
    http://www.VondaSkelton.com

  5. January 22, 2008 5:42 pm

    Hey Samantha,
    I haven’t read the full article, but as it regards your reflections, I agree there is a heightened level of narcissism today. One doesn’t need to look far to find it. There’s good evidence that the Look at Me generation is more benevolent, yet it seems to be a “by the way” tacked onto extravagantly selfish lifestyles rather than a defining characteristic.

    We all are true narcissists, aren’t we? Left to our own devices, our self-absorption leaves us heavily chained to our own worst enemy – the enemy of self. Praise God for his redeeming work on the cross that alone can free us from those bonds.

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